2016 ASIS&T President
University of Toronto
In her final message as ASIS&T president, Nadia Caidi extends thanks to the conference co-chairs and many others who have contributed to a successful 2016 Annual Meeting in Copenhagen, the first beyond North America. Caidi notes the strong financial health of the Association and the hiring of the Association’s first communications officer. Numerous efforts have been made toward priority goals for the year: outreach and engagement with members and the wider information science community and internal knowledge management. An Executive Director Task Force has been formed to find a successor to Dick Hill, considering organizational and financial status, strategic planning and oversight by either an executive director or an association management firm. Members are invited to share ideas and voice their opinions on issues of common interest as the Association moves forward.
Association for Information Science and Technology
The first ever Annual Meeting of ASIS&T outside North America is around the corner, and Copenhagen is calling. I hope that you are as excited as I am to make your way to this beautiful city. The program is fantastic and attendance is very strong this year. As an added bonus, much is happening in and around Copenhagen during the Annual Meeting, including the superb Culture Night (on October 14), an all-night affair consisting of events and shows that will welcome you to Copenhagen’s rich cultural and local scene. To remain informed and connected, make sure you download our conference app and use it to connect with local colleagues who can share their insights on nightlife, dining and activities during the Annual Meeting. Student attendees are also invited to document their experiences and Storify the highlights of their meeting to win one of several $500 prizes generously donated by OCLC (see www.asist.org/events/annual-meeting/annual-meeting-2016/student-activities/).
Our thanks go to conference co-chairs, Diane Sonnenwald and Lauren Harrison. Thanks to their hard work, the program is highly eclectic reflecting a range of perspectives and ideas, as well as new sessions and formats. We hope you will take advantage of the stimulating program, opportunities for networking and professional development, along with meeting old friends and making new ones. On behalf of the Board and the ASIS&T community, I would also like to thank profusely the jury and award committee chairs and members who put in countless hours reviewing the various entries and nominations. Thanks to their hard work, we have a superb lineup of awardees this year, including (to name just a few) Dr. Reijo Savolainen (recipient of the ASIS&T Research Award); Dr. Peter Ingwersen (2016 Award of Merit), Dr. Donald Case and Dr. Diane Sonnenwald (Watson Davis Award); Dr. Adam Worrall (James Cretsos Leadership Award); the European Chapter for Chapter-of-the-Year Award; SIG/MET for SIG-of-the-Year, Dr. Lisa Nathan (Thomson-Reuters Information Science Teacher Award), Pratt Institute for Student Chapter-of-the-Year, and Boundary Objects and Beyond: Working with Leigh Star (edited by Dr. Geoff Bowker et al.) for the Outstanding Information Science Book Award. Please join us on October 18 at the Awards Luncheon to meet and congratulate our winners, the people who nominated them and the various jurors and committee members.
The Annual Meeting also signals the end of my term as president. Before I pass on the baton to my esteemed colleague, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for a fantastic experience on the Board and at the helm of ASIS&T. Together, we have been able to reach some significant milestones:
- The financial health of ASIS&T remains strong. We have also been able to increase membership, although there is more to do to continue attracting new members and engaging existing ones. The challenge for many educational non-profit associations is to continue to provide value for their members, and ASIS&T is no exception. But we are going in the right direction.
- We have hired ASIS&T’s first communications officer in the person of Mrs. Yolande Nanayakkara. Yolande is responsible for overseeing our communication strategy and membership outreach and engagement efforts. She comes to us with a decade of experience in a range of associations. The search committee was very impressed with her fresh ideas and insights on marketing and membership engagement. She will be a great asset to our Association.
- Outreach and engagement have been our priority this year. Several initiatives were put into place, including Regional Meetings, the Doctoral Students’ Research Videos and the Meet the Author Series. The Doctoral Students’ Research Videos, for instance, showcase the range of research work and interests of our emerging scholars. If you have not done so, make sure to check the videos of the top winner, Ms. Olubukola Oduntan, and the other contributors at www.asist.org/doctoral-student-research-videos/. All selected videos will earn their authors a free one-year renewal/membership to ASIS&T. In addition, the top winner will also have her work featured in the Bulletin. Our thanks for Dr. Iris Xie and her team for their work on this initiative. The Meet the Authors Series was inaugurated in August 2016 and has been a great opportunity for ASIS&T members and non-members to become acquainted with a range of ideas and influences from within and without the information field. Topics that have engaged our community members include the search engine manipulation effect and the regulation of cloud computing. The upcoming lineup for future events is available here: www.asist.org/events/meet-the-author-series/.
- Knowledge management, which has been another priority of the Board, is well underway. Under the able leadership of June Abbas, Heather Pfeiffer and their team, a review and assessment of current practices and guidelines is in progress. We invite everyone to cooperate with June and Heather on this important project.
- Capitalizing on Dick Hill’s outstanding legacy, we are proceeding with succession planning and are working toward replacing Dick and revitalizing the management at ASIS&T. In this vein, I have created an Executive Director Search Task Force, which will be co-chaired by Dr. Sandy Hirsh and Dr. Clara Chu. TheTask Force has been provided with the following broad questions to consider as part of its deliberations: 1) develop a clear picture of ASIS&T’s current organizational and financial state; 2) building on the most recent Strategic Planning Document (and other relevant documentation), determine whether an executive director or an association management firm is best suited to fulfill the management needs of the Association. Having an executive director in place is critical for managing the HQ staff and operational issues and thus allowing the ASIS&T Board to focus on strategic issues and planning for the Association. The Task Force will be charged with developing a job description and job announcement for the executive director position (by late October/early November 2016). It will also drive the selection process, review applications that meet the qualifications and parameters set and complete face-to-face interviews with the selected candidates/associations (by January end/early February 2017). Finally, the Task Force will provide a ranked list of candidates along with its recommendation to the Board of Directors (by February end/early March 2017).
In addition to Sandy Hirsh (a professor and director at SJSU and ASIS&T past president, who is familiar with the workings/administration of the Association) and Clara Chu (director and Mortenson Distinguished Professor at the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at UIUC, ASIS&T member-at-large and a past president of ALISE when that Association was undertaking its own management changes), other Task Force members include: Marjorie Hlava, president of Access Innovations Inc. and a past president of ASIS&T; Jamshid Beheshti, a member of ASIS&T Board of Directors and professor at McGill (Canada); Lisa Given, professor at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales (Australia) and incoming president-elect; Lynn Silipigni Connaway, senior research scientist and director of user research at OCLC and incoming ASIS&T president; and myself. The Task Force co-chairs welcome any input on the process. Please feel free to contact them at: sandy.hirsh<at>sjsu.edu or cmchu<at>illinois.edu
As you can see, a wind of change is blowing on ASIS&T. I invite everyone to share your ideas, provide your input and most important of all, engage. I look forward to meeting and speaking with as many of you as possible.